Posts from the ‘nonfiction’ Category

A WORLD OF MANY COLORS

UNDERSTANDING BOBBY’S AUTISM DIAGNOSIS: A Social Story

Written and illustrated by Bozena Zawisz

This book explains how an autistic child views his world. It is a valuable reference tool for parents and teachers of autistic children to use to explain autistic behavior. Many autistic children on the higher end of the spectrum are educated in inclusive classrooms. Children can become confused when these children avoid eye contact, have slower speech, and sensitivity to stimuli that other children think normal.

The author uses simple analogies like an abundance of twig branches to explain why autistic children may have difficulty focusing. She talks about teacher adaptations and how they assist an autistic child in learning. Different intensities of the colors of a rainbow is another good example of how all of us are different in the way we behave. Bobby and his friend John have overcome all these difficulties and have become the best of friends. Each of us has unique talents and skills All children need to give and receive respect for these strengths and differences.

I highly recommend this book which contains simple sketches for parents and teachers of elementary school and middle-school children who have contact with children on the autism spectrum.

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A WOMAN AHEAD OF HER TIME

Catherine The Great: A Life from Beginning to End

Hourly History Series

This short summary of Catherine The Great’s life provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acquired the support of the Russian military guard.

Catherine was an early feminist. She supported educational reforms for men and women, reformed the farming system by introducing European reforms, and introduced the principles of European Enlightenment, counting the philosopher, Voltaire, as one of her friends. Catherine extended the territorial boundaries of Russia and succeeded in many of her military goals. She devoted her life to power and did not shirk from using violence to achieve it. The principles she set forth laid the foundation for modern Russia.

Recommended as an introduction to Russian history or as a reference for student research into the subject. The essay is easy to read and is recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers as well as adults interested in biographies and history.

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TACKLING OUR FEARSI

I DON’T WANT TO GO TO KINDERGARTEN: I’LL MISS YOU TOO MUCH!

Written by Maureen White

Illustrated by Tracy Taylor Arvidson

The author is a school counselor. She uses her expertise to develop a “Powering Up” stress management technique to help us deal with challenging situations. The activity used in this book proves that the body can instantly respond to a change in our thoughts. This book is made interactive by tapping on the pages. White includes instructions on how to reinforce the superpower method and links to videos and workshops that can be used to practice the technique.

White presents a story that features Tina, a young girl who is fearful about beginning kindergarten. While shopping for a backpack, Tina and her mom meet Bobby and his mom. Bobby shares with Tina that he has developed a superpower in preschool that he will teach her. The next day Bobby introduces Tina to Paddy Penguin, a puppet that can help make our muscles strong. He shows Tina that happy thoughts can make one strong.

These techniques can be practiced by children or adults of any age to manage any challenging situation. Recommended for parents and teachers.

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OCEAN PLAYMATES

DOLPHINS: Fun Facts and Amazing Photos of Animals in Nature

Written by Emma Child

I have read several of the amazing animals books written by this author. Who can resist looking at the face of a dolphin? Child begins by describing the general features of dolphins like smooth skin and bottlenoses and then goes on to explain there are many variations. I had never heard of the dalmatian dolphin and was surprised to learn that dolphins migrate each year.

Child’s discussion of the way dolphins communicate by echolocation and a whistle sound that is unique to each dolphin is fascinating. I learned that dolphins use sea sponges to protect their mouths from spiny fish and that some dolphins have more than one hundred teeth. Children will be surprised to learn that dolphins live in families like theirs and that they delight in playing with each other. The dolphins’ intelligence level is second only to that of a human and they are good problem solvers.

This book is informative and a great research tool for children in the elementary or middle grades. Only one thing disappointed me. The photos on the Kindle can be enlarged by double-clicking, but this was not simple to do and once enlarged some of the photos looked blurry.

Recommended for dolphin lovers everywhere regardless of age.

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B.D. BEFORE THE DIGITAL AGE

Stories of Elders: What the Greatest Generation Knows About Technology That You Don’t

Written by Veronica Kirin

This book is a fascinating study conducted by a trained anthropologist who became an entrepreneur. Kirin traveled across America to interview members of what she calls The Greatest Generation, Americans who were born before 1945. She wanted to discover what it was like to live before the advent of technology from the mouths of those who grew up living without it.

Kirin developed a list of fifteen interview questions which covered basic demographic information as well as the type of childhood, their occupations, and how technology has changed their lives and those who are growing up in a world dominated by technology. Her questions touched on poverty, economic issues, family, religion, safety, and community. Her conclusions discuss the advantages and disadvantages of growing up with or without technology. Kirin provides a list of participants in an index.

I believe that millennials will find this study interesting and enlightening. As a person who grew up between these two groups, I found the information fascinating.

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FOLDING FUN

Origami For Kids: Easy Japanese Origami Instruction For Kids

Written by Ben Mikaelson

This book is a practical guide for learning the ancient art of origami, Japanese art of paper folding. I like the fact that the author takes the time to go into the history of paper and the art of paper folding. Mikaelson proceeds to give instructions on how to make fourteen separate origami projects. He begins with simple symbols and shapes like the heart, a cup, and a letter. Then he progresses to a cicada, bird, and a little boat. As one becomes more accomplished, the finished projects evidence a growing sophistication with the art form. If the budding artist keeps practicing, he will be fashioning a peacock, a whale, and a dinosaur before finishing the book.

Readers will learn how to create Japanese letters and how Akira Yoshizawa popularized origami in Japan and throughout the world. He created more than 50,000 unique origami designs. Today the principles of origami are used in building cars, microscopes, robots, and even heart surgery.

I would recommend this book for children and adults of any age. Perfect activity for families and siblings to share or art teachers to introduce to their students.

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COOL ANIMAL STUFF

33 Cute Animals of the World (Cool Facts and Picture Book Series for Kids)

Written by P.K. Miller

 

I would rate this nonfiction book three and a half stars. It is an easy read with basic information on thirty-three “cute” animals. While the author includes a picture for each, the photo is very small and does not reveal much detail. Miller provides a few paragraphs that describe the habitat, interesting characteristics, and notable features for each of the animals. He includes google and wiki links to additional images and reference information on each subject.

This book can best be used as an introduction or reference book. Children in elementary and middle-school certainly would find it helpful as a tool to research an animal science project. Readers of all ages will find it informative and interesting.

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